No room for indiscipline in sport – Minister

Namal Rajapaksa

Disciplinary action will be taken against any players, no matter how talented, for dishonouring the country they are representing, Sports and Youth Minister Namal Rajapaksa told Parliament yesterday (08).

No matter how talented a player is, if that person acts in a manner that disrespects the reputation of the country, we will take appropriate disciplinary action, Minister Namal Rajapaksa pointed out.

It applies to all sports, including cricket and athletics, Rajapaksa said. Minister Namal Rajapaksa was making these observations following a question raised by SLPP MP Premanath Dolawattte.

Minister Rajapaksa pointed out, “There are many shortcomings in Sri Lanka cricket now. During the earlier days we had a proper process where we had school cricket, cricket development squad, club cricket, domestic cricket and our cricket A-team at a fine balance.”

Minister Namal Rajapaksa observed, “The players had consistency to improve their talents. If we take a single player, they have had many options to improve their playing before entering the national cricket team. If they fail to perform, they used to have chances to go back to other pools and practice.However now, this structure is not working out after 2014. The National Cricket players have no other place to improve their skills. They will have to join directly to domestic cricket. When these players play good club cricket, they go to the international level. So there is a visible gap between these two spaces.

If we take from 2019 to up to date, we see that there has not been a long term plan to develop cricket.After the victory in 2014, we have had four sports ministers. Then, we have had five head coaches within these five years. Then, there were about twenty supporting coaches. When we gave a chance to Sri Lankan coaches, one such coach called off the agreement during a series. This particular coach has gone to courts for compensation worth 01 million USD. To negotiate this matter, we have paid more than hundred thousand USD to get legal support. The cricket team has had more than ten captains within these five years. There have been 105 cricketers who have been taken in and out of the team for ODI and T-Twenty. Some cricketers have played only one game. During 2016-2017, there have been 40 cricketers used in the cricket team.”

Rajapaksa furthered, “We are currently training 60 players in Dambulla in a bio-bubble. We will resume the Sri Lanka A team’s development tour.

“With a clear long-term plan,coaching change will also happen.We are going to win but we need a fair amount of time. Giving players a fair amount of time is not an indefinite period of time. Also, there are a lot of criticisms about the LPL tournament and I will file an audit report on it now.”

(Source: Daily News – By Sandasen Marasinghe, Camelia Nathaniel and Amali Mallawaarachchi)